Resume

tl;dr

Seasoned programmer with experience building world-class apps. Lately I've been using Node.js with MongoDB and AngularJS and, of course, Objective-C for iOS apps. I have written everything from a high-performance search engine in C++ serving billions of search results, to a crazy game based on a De Stijl painter and once, even an ant colony simulator (using Hypercard). I love to build stuff.

Early Experiences

Learned to push-up, sit-up, crawl, walk and talk. All self-taught.

Early exposure to computers was through my father who wrote Modular Programming in COBOL in the early 70's. I got to hang out in the server room, checkout the punched cards and play Star Trek on a dial up terminal.

We bought an Apple II and thus began my early programming experience.

Music Education

I began playing drums early and over the years built up a pearl Slingerland drumset just like one of my idols: Buddy Rich. In 1981 I marched with the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps playing marimba. After that I studied with the great Nora Davenport.

By 1986 I was playing vibraphone and studying Jazz. I called up the great Jaki Byard and I began making the 4 hour drive from my home in Pennsylvania to his house in Hollis, Queens, for lessons once a month.

Early Programming

I moved to NYC in 1988 to persue a career in music. But soon the programming bug caught up with me again and I found myself spending more time in front of the computer than my instrument. By 1990 I decided to get back into programming full-time. I spent almost a year doing little else except programming, eating and sleeping. I wrote a full-fledged PC diagnostics program in Turbo Pascal. The app tested every aspect of a computer including memory and hard disks.

Muze Inc. (1991-1998)

In 1991 I joined Muze as a programmer. At the time I was the second programmer to join the team. We wrote touch-screen kiosks for music stores based on our database of every CD in print. I helped build the music kiosk and then went on to write the backend and kiosk for our video and books systems. The first music kiosk was written in Clipper. The video kiosk was written in Foxpro, and the books kiosk was written in Visual Basic. I helped build up an awesome team of developers at Muze.

Barnesandnoble.com (1998-2003)

bn.com launched in 1997. I joined in 1998 to run the search engine. At the time I joined the entire search engine for the site was an extended stored procedure in SQL Server!! I quickly built a new engine in C and sped up response times by several orders of magnitude. I built up a small team of great developers, including Jim Korenthal of PHDBase fame, and we built a second search engine from the ground up in C++. In it's day, I believe it was one of the top site-specific search engines on the web. The search engine handled complex boolean queries and some site-specific natural language queries ("books about trains for grades 3-5", "recommended history books"). It also supported dynamic relevance sorting and was super fast.

At the time, Jakob Nielsen wrote, “BN is lean and fast. It’s easy to find books here, even if you misspell the author’s name.” Little did he know that I knew he'd review the site, and I knew he'd mis-type his own name to check the results so we made sure that every possible mis-spelling of Jakob and Nielsen returned his books. After I left in 2003 the search engine continued to perform flawlessly for years performing billions of searches.

Semandex (2003-2011)

After years of commuting from Princeton NJ to NYC everyday I decided to take a local job to be able to spend more time with my daughter. Semandex is a defense contractor mostly dealing with the intelligence branches. I was the principal software engineer and we built up a fantastic team of engineers led by my good friend Jeff Mershon. Most of the development was done in Java but eventaully the front-end was built using this "new" thing called AJAX. At the time we used General Interface (before they were bought by Tibco). I maintained a TS/SCI security clearance and if I tell you any more, I'd have to kill you.

Fuzzi Tail (2010-present)

In 2010 my brother Jon Armstrong and I started FuzziTail and developed Mondrian, a puzzle game based on the artwork of Piet Mondrian. The game was quite fun to develop and the seemingly simple puzzles turned out to be quite difficult to solve.

"A work of Art""...its character, art style, and terrific gameplay justify the price. Mondrain can rest in peace knowing that his iDevice game has been transformed into a 5-Dimple work of art."
-- AppSmile.com
✭✭✭✭ 4 stars "Mondrian is a great game injecting loads of personality, and style into a genre that usually is just associated with blue blocks."
-- TouchGen.net

My latest app is Syde. Syde is a fun social photo collaboration app where you take half a photo (a Syde), share it publicly, with friends, or privately, and the other person takes the other half of the photo. It's really fun, and a great way to make a connection between people. My original inspiration was the drawing game exquisite corpse that I used to play with my family when I was a kid.

CueNotes.com (2012 - present)

I co-founded CueNotes.com with my friend Ben Dean. Both of us being musicians, we wanted to develop something of lasting value for the music world. The simple idea around CueNotes is to bring a social experience back to music in the digital age. There was no place on the web for fans, artists, and music lovers to discuss music in a engaging and useful way. CueNotes combines a social network with a concept similar to Popup Video. Artists can contribute their own CueNotes much like they used to in the liner notes of old, but interact with fans in a way that was never possible before.

I wrote the backend in Node.js, MongoDB, and the inital iOS app in objective-c. Our web-app is written using Backbone.js and Marionette.

Consulting (2013 - present)

My latest consulting gig is with SiriusXM where I built a web app to showcase their traffic and traffic related data. The app was written in AngularJS with a NodeJS backend. I really like AngularJS. It's simple, flexible and it makes a lot of stuff soooo easy to do.